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Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 12:22 PM   #1
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Baby stuff

Ok, so some minor "I got that and it sucked" or "I got that and it was good" banter around baby stuff has occurred. I'm still in the "acquisition phase" and wanted to know what specific products you've bought recently for baby that were "cant live withouts" and which were "thrown out the window". Also, which retailers did you like and dislike? I tried the 'second hand' approach that a lot of people like...I could find nothing in the stores, and yard sale stuff was mostly decrepit cruddy stuff I didnt even want to touch, let alone stick my kid into.

I've already learned that "babiesrus" is a huge, huge no-no. I bought a half dozen things there, and the grandparents bought us a couple of things off of the registry we made there. About half of the stuff had apparently been returned, repackaged, and put back on the shelf as new. I discovered while trying to assemble a baby seat that it had been partially assembled, a power screwdriver had been used in the partial assembly, spinning out the screws in the plastic housings so they wouldnt hold anymore, and it smelled like baby. A baby monitor that had had its box retaped had a non-working a/c adapter. And a bassinet had all its plastic bags of parts ripped open and was missing a few key parts.

I dont mind stuff like this being put on a clearance table for half price, labeled "not working" or "missing parts"...but I'm frankly pretty disgusted that they'd just put peoples repackaged defective and used returns back on the shelf to sell as new.

Further, some stuff we bought and marked off our registry got rebought as it takes TWO DAYS for their computer systems to synchronize the registries across stores and on-line.

Fairly pathetic.
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Baby stuff

Quote:
I'm still in the "acquisition phase" and wanted to know what specific products you've bought recently for baby that were "cant live withouts" and which were "thrown out the window".
It has been quite some time since our youngest was a baby, but I think the following is not an unreasonable observation.

This board is full of quite frugal people. Acquiring more stuff is met with skepticism almost every day. I'm going to suggest that you consider whether many acquisitions are really required.

You too were a baby once. Your parents toted you around in a car, likely in Mum's lap. There were no infant seats, in many cases no seat belts, never mind intercoms to check whether you were still breathing 24 hours a day. You slept in a crib that would be deemed a hazard today, your room was painted with a lead-based paint, your mother drank and smoked while she was pregnant. You survived, as did we all.

Your forthcoming bundle is indeed precious. Advertisers will play on that as much as possible. Let's be honest though. You are not a delinquent parent if your child isn't in a $1000 stroller, doesn't sleep in the newest crib, isn't a short range broadcaster.

Your obligations are to feed, clean, and clothe the young'un. Truffles are not required. A soapy cloth makes a fine substitute for baby-wipes. You can find dandy second-hand baby clothes anywhere for negligible cost.

Sure, buy an infant seat for the car and make sure it's properly anchored. Put a safety latch on the cupboard with the bleach in it. Just don't go overboard. Putting a latch on the cupboard with all the canned goods prevents tower building. You can save a fortune on building blocks if you just keep enough Progresso in the kitchen.

Children surrounded by cotton batten suffocate.
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: Baby stuff

Oh! And yes nfs, don't smoke around the kids!......especially in the car or house. But that's an inside story isn't it?
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Baby stuff

Its been quite a few years but the BEST baby (clothing) gift we received was a baby "sleep sack". Its a heavy, warm zippered sack. Pajama like material with arms but no leg holes.

They (we got a few) lasted so long that at 2 years I cut leg holes and remember her running in them. Thanks for the memories.


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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 06:45 PM   #5
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Re: Baby stuff

I tried to convince my wife that all the kid needed was a cardboard box lined with newspaper, but she didn't buy it.

So, we bought a ton of stuff. * A few of the more useful included:

1) a "snugli" -- this allows mom to wear the baby around the house. *A "baby bjorne" will also do the trick, but they cost more and they isolate the kid from mom more than the snugli.

2) a "pack and play" with the half-sized bassinet. *This is a portable play pen (we took it with us when we traveled), and the kid can also sleep in it up to 15 lbs or so.

3) One of those vibrating bouncing chairs. * This was our kid's preferred easy chair for the first 6 months or so.

4) A changing table. * I built one out of melamine that fit right next to the bathroom sink. * Babies become expert at rolling pretty quickly, so without a barrier, they'll just roll into the sink, off the bed, etc.

5) One of those car seats that pops out of the car and into a simple stroller. * I forget which brand ours was, but it's got a handle so you can carry the kid around -- sort of a briefcase that poops and spits up.

That's all you need for the first 6 months.
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 07:29 PM   #6
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Re: Baby stuff

As the mother of two little girls (ages 4 and 2), I have a lot of recent experience with baby items. I'm frugal, and I sell a lot of my old items at consignment sales, but I don't usually buy the big stuff at consignment sales. I've found that the items have often been through so many kids that they are unsafe or unsanitary. I prefer to buy the big stuff new, and then sell it when we are done with it. Since we don't plan on more kids, I've gotten rid of most everything by now.

That being said, BabiesRUs is overpriced. We got a lot of things there with our first child. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't get anything there. In my experience, Target has the best stuff for the best price. The BabiesRUs stuff is not any more durable, it is just a little more fashionable.

My most recommended items are:

1. Agree with Wabmester - get the infant seat/stroller system. You don't need the most expensive one, but being able to take the car seat out of the car, with the baby still sleeping in it, and take it into the store or restaurant will save your sanity when the baby is 6 months old or less. If you and your wife will be driving the baby around, you may want to buy a second car seat base. They only cost around $20, and it will save you from buying a second infant seat. I know Graco makes them. That may be the only thing you actually need to get at BabiesRUs - I don't remember seeing them elsewhere.

2. Also agree on the pack-n-play with small bassinet/changing table on top. Our girls slept in the bassinet for the first few weeks, and the changing pad was very handy. We never really used the actual playpen part, though.

3. I never cared for the Snugli or Baby Bjorn, and neither of my kids liked the bouncy seat, even though we tried two different ones.

4. My kids did love the motorized swing, and it was great when trying to fix or eat dinner. You don't want to leave them in there for hours, but it is a nice way to get a few free minutes.

5. My kids also loved the exersaucer (after about 4 months).

6. The Peaceful Planet Acquarium, which attaches to the side of the crib, helped get both of my kids to sleep. We've used it so much that we've bought 3 of them over the years (one for grandma's house). After about 6 months they can turn it on themselves when they wake up in the middle of the night. Priceless!

Good luck! You don't need to spend a fortune to have a well-equipped baby, although everyone will make you think that you do.

Lawgirl



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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 09:17 PM   #7
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Re: Baby stuff

Quote:
I tried to convince my wife that all the kid needed was a cardboard box lined with newspaper, but she didn't buy it.

So, we bought a ton of stuff. A few of the more useful included:

1) a "snugli" -- this allows mom to wear the baby around the house. A "baby bjorne" will also do the trick, but they cost more and they isolate the kid from mom more than the snugli.

2) a "pack and play" with the half-sized bassinet. This is a portable play pen (we took it with us when we traveled), and the kid can also sleep in it up to 15 lbs or so.

3) One of those vibrating bouncing chairs. This was our kid's preferred easy chair for the first 6 months or so.

4) A changing table. I built one out of melamine that fit right next to the bathroom sink. Babies become expert at rolling pretty quickly, so without a barrier, they'll just roll into the sink, off the bed, etc.

5) One of those car seats that pops out of the car and into a simple stroller. I forget which brand ours was, but it's got a handle so you can carry the kid around -- sort of a briefcase that poops and spits up.

That's all you need for the first 6 months.
Cool, thats almost exactly the list of stuff I bought already. Along with a boatload of clothes the grandparents dropped by with.

I tried on both the snugli and the baby bjorn...the baby bjorn worked ok for me but was too big for my wife...the snugli was ok for both. One fourth the price didnt make me feel bad either.

As far as brands and models, if anyone is close to making another contributor to social security, let me know and I'll share what I ended up getting...I did a couple of days of review reading and shopping to decide. I might save you some time!
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 09:42 PM   #8
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Re: Baby stuff

Quote:
As the mother of two little girls (ages 4 and 2), I have a lot of recent experience with baby items.
Thanks for the ideas. Actually we decided to skip the stroller for now. I'm probalby more likely to backpack the baby for the foreseeable future. When I'm shopping I'll probably just drop the car seat into the shopping cart. We dont "go to the mall" together or out to restaurants that often, and after rolling my eyes at parents who brought their screaming infants into expensive restaurants for the last 25 years, I think I have to avoid becoming a hypocrite

I bought a really nice "infant" model seat. I didnt find a convertible infant/baby seat that I liked. I figure by the time we need the "baby" seat, I may have gotten tired of backpacking the kid around and we'll get a 'system' with a seat and stroller. I'm of somewhat ogre-ish proportions, so an extra 10-20lbs on my back probably wont be noticed for now.

We got a top of the line "playyard" with the removable bassinet and a changing table, plus lights, music, "nature sounds" and "massage". A lot of people liked this model saying they used it instead of the crib, bassinet and so forth.

The only extra items we have bought or employed:

I hooked up an old inexpensive two camera surveillance camera system that I hooked into the cable tv system in the house on an unused channel...all old crap I have from my old mcmansion but handy crap With this setup, all we have to do is tune to channel 68 from any tv in the house to get picture and sound of the nursery.

My wife is certified for neonatal care and she takes care of all the babies at the hospital. One of the things they use there that we got was a little memory foam incline pad with two movable velcro'd bolsters. You swaddle up the baby, position them on the pad between the bolsters, and this holds the infant in the correct sleeping position. They have to be replaced periodically, but they're supposed to be good stuff.

We got the heartbeat/breathing/movement monitor that is currently decorating WAB's front lawn near one of his windows. It was pretty well regarded by most people, I'll give it a try.

Diaper Genie. I fear the diaper genie. :P I tried talking my wife into letting me mount a board out in the garage sink and just taking the kid out there to hose off. No go. I thought maybe we could just put him out in the yard with the dogs and use the doggie pooper scooper rake. She didnt go for that either.

We got a nice over the shoulder half backpack diaper bag with some nice goodies. It has a built in thermos sleeve for a bottle, a changing pad, lots of little pockets and storage compartments, etc.

My dad keeps telling me that I was put in a dresser drawer and otherwise left to my own devices on any piece of the floor that was handy... :
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 09:56 PM   #9
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Re: Baby stuff

It sounds like you're ready!! Very exciting.
You may want that stroller later on. I didn't use mine often, but it was handy when I used it.

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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-18-2004, 10:01 PM   #10
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Re: Baby stuff

We thought we might get one of those jogger type stroller for taking the baby and the dogs on a walk. This usually consists of me getting dragged along and my wife trying to keep up. Hence the jogger stroller.

I figured we're set for days 1-?? and whatever 'needs' arise can be met later. As I told her..."I doubt anythings going to happen where the baby is going to reach critical mass and explode in less time than it takes me to get to the walmart thats 2 miles away and come back with an item..."
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 07:34 AM   #11
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Re: Baby stuff

TH,

Where to shop for used stuff? "Mom-to-Mom" resale. Although the name isn't PC, it is a great place to find clean clothes, gear, strollers, etc. These sales are really popular here in Michigan. I hadn't heard of them until last year, but they have great stuff. It's like an organized community yard sale in the VFW, school, or church hall. Look around you might have some luck there. Ask your friends who have kids about these places, they may also have a couple of big bags of stuff that they are looking to unload...

As for strollers - where to begin. Don't look for the perfect stroller, there isn't one. My suggestion is to fine one you can walk behind and not have to clip your step or bend over to push. These little bitty strollers are guaranteed to send you to the chiropractor in tears. Most of the baby gear is designed for women because it's bought by women. The ergonomics are wrong for typically sized or larger men. The jogging stroller is a great idea. Try running behind it (even if you never plan on running behind it) so you can see if it clips your step. I had problems finding one for a child less than 1 year old. We bought one at Costco and put our son in it around 10 months.

The basket systems are great for the first 4 months or so. After that it gets really heavy. For a car seat, I recommend Brittax marathon. They also make the round-about, but it is smaller and you will need to replace it once the top of the kids ears are even with the seat. This happens quicker than you think. I have a small tolerance for poor equipment and I recommend the Brittax stuff. The belts don't twist, the attachments are easy to manipulate, and the tightening mechanisms are easy and reliable. They wear like iron too. Used Brittax on eBay still commands a decent price. We own 4 seats - his and hers cars for two kids. It's expensive, but every day I'm glad we retired the Graco quickly.

Other great stuff, the ultra saucer, sling bouncer chair, outdoor kids picnic table (better for 14 months plus), a real chair they can sit in (we found a kids recliner in the furniture store for $70, he uses it every day), cloth diaper changing mat for main living area (store it in a basket with diapers, wipes, cream, etc), booster seat high chair (straps to your kitchen chair), Baby Einstein DVDs, and a dishwasher with a NSF high heat cycle. Not recommended, baby sling (we never used it), wipe warmer, multiple changing tables, bottle sterilizer stuff, and diaper genie (just carry the steamy loads to the sealable garage garbage can).

That's a start. Good luck,

Chris
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 08:54 AM   #12
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Re: Baby stuff

One other tip. Neither of you will want to cook (or anything else) for the first couple of weeks. You should either arrange for a grandparent to help pick up the slack, or do what we did -- hire a personal chef for a couple of weeks and indulge

Also, have as much sex as you possibly can. It'll be a long time before you ever have sex again once the kid pops out
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 10:46 AM   #13
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Re: Baby stuff

As recent grandparents we have a few of the basic necessities to make our house & car ready to receive our 13 month old granddaughter and 5 month old grandson from our two beautiful daughters & sons-in-law. We have the Graco baby seat base to receives th car baby car carrier, and the high chair and crib. We got these from babysrus and so far have had not problems with them. We also got breatpumps for daughters, diapers, toys etc. etc.

Anyone feel nervous about driving with your precious grandkid cargo? I sure do. I 've had both daughters and babies in our car and I drive like I'm being tailed by the CHP (which is how I should be driving at all times- but I don't).
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Other baby stuff.
Old 10-19-2004, 10:49 AM   #14
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Other baby stuff.

A tour of the hospital labor & delivery rooms, with particular attention to caring for the kid in your room (may require proficiency training before the staff lets you do that) and what time shift change occurs (no fun if you're in the end-stage of labor).

Private rooms are better than semi-private rooms with the mothers on alternate-hour feeding schedules.

My (formerly working after delivery) spouse just chimed in to suggest a breast pump. Get a good electric- or battery-powered model and don't try to find a bargain.

Seems like a dumb thing to say now, but start carrying the car seats in the car. You can't take the kid home without them, and when labor starts you won't be at your logical Vulcan best.

Disposable diapers. Preferably gender-based for greater absorbency. Skip the Diaper Genie-- poop's not actually radioactive waste (although it's certainly a springboard for further discussion).

Plastic baby bottles, not glass. Don't drop them in a dark room at 3 AM with a cranky baby. 'Nuff said.

If breast-feeding is deemed to be over, save enough of the natural product to mix with & slowly introduce formula (like introducing new dog food). Don't let La Leche's militant mothers affect a personal decision.

A big comfortable chair for night-time feedings. (I'm referring to you, th.)

An application for a Social Security number. Hand it out to all those close relatives who might be buying bonds for the occasion.

A big package of birth announcements. Start addressing them now.

This may not make much sense now, but think about borrowing a library copy of "Your Fussy Baby and High-Needs Child" by William Sears. I think they followed us around when they wrote the book.

Whatever cheap version you can find of a swimming-pool diaper. Public pools won't allow the kid without them, but of course you get to make your own rules in a backyard pool.

A "splat mat"-- any waterproof tarp about 10' square (more if your kid is a hurler).

Once the kid's head is self-supporting, get a collapsible umbrella stroller. Priceless-- no matter how strong your arms/back become.

There's a clear/colored plastic ball with grabber handles filled with beads, bells, and other noisemakers. I don't remember the brand but I bet it's generic now. It evoked our kid's first giggles and it was good for endless hours of self-directed entertainment.

Watch out for jealous dogs. I don't have a solution to that one.

Quote:
Also, have as much sex as you possibly can. * It'll be a long time before you ever have sex again once the kid pops out *;)
I never had a handle on that, Wab. Are you suggesting that, after experiencing pregnancy together for all these months, they somehow share sexual relations with EACH OTHER?!?
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 11:14 AM   #15
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Re: Baby stuff

Oh, yeah.

Get the book "Baby Wisperer" by Tracy Hoag. My experience is that the other books made my wife feel better. This book made the baby feel better and sleep better... No kidding.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books


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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 11:33 AM   #16
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Re: Baby stuff

We're on our fourth baby now and have bought very little on our own. You'd be surprised who wants to unload their crap (or buy new stuff for you) when they find out you have a baby. While most of the stuff we've gotten has come from our family, we have received cribs or boxes of clothes from friends of friends. I would especially not buy any cloths for 3-9 months because you'll get piles of it from friends, and you only need about 5 outfits for the 1-2 months they'll fit in the stupid things.

1. stock up that freezer with a couple months of meals
2. we've found that huggies are worth the extra dough if you're doing disposables, but cloth (washed yourself) is easier than you think.
3. If you are doing cloth we found a great brand, but I can't remember it. I'll ask my wife if you're interested.
4. a hair dryer is really handy for the baby's bum if getting any sort of diaper rash (works as well as the prescription butt paste)
5. Headset for phone is nice when you have your hands full of baby
6. mobiles are great -- can easily be homemade. Also hang a lot of interesting pictures where the baby will see them.
7. our kids all loved the bouncy seats, and I think we have three -- but they all hated the vibrating. Just use them as chairs.
8. Pack N Play is great. Use it at home as a second crib -- take it everywhere.
9. You cannot have a diaper bag that is too big. The bag that I like is bigger than what I took for two months in Europe.
10. For our first three kids we rented an infant car seat from the hospital. I don't remember how much it was, but I thought it was cheap at the time.
11. We now have one of those combined stroller / car seats, and it's not working that great for us. The carrier is just too awkward, and baby wakes up every time we try to move her in it.
12. Jogging strollers rule. While I didn't spend money on much else, I did buy an obscenely expensive stroller (http://www.bergdesign.net/runabout.htm)
13. Baby carriers are also nice. Used a Bjorn, and also a Maxi-Mom.
14. Hated the Diaper Genie. Threw it away.
15. When it's a little older those toys that light up and play music when you kick them are great. All of our kids loved those.
16. Jonnie Jump-up's are also great. Did some damage to one of our door frames, though.
17. All of our kids liked the baby swing for a short period only (maybe from 4-6mos). Can't recommend from our experience.
18. Super Baby Food is cheap and easy and good. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 11:52 AM   #17
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Re: Baby stuff

Other books:

Baby Wise
Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child
The New Father

Read that stuff, and then do what feels right to you. If your wife is a nurse she may have a strong predisposition to demand feeding (since that's what they teach these days). I would recommend against that after the first couple weeks since I've seen it turn into a disaster for some of my friends.
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Sign language?
Old 10-19-2004, 12:03 PM   #18
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Sign language?

Anyone have any practical experience with teaching their newborns to sign for the basics?

I know it can be done, and magazine articles rave about how it helps kids to get through the terrible twos while developing fully-formed grammatically-correct sentences as their first words...

... or it could just be a bunch of marketing hype from the behemoth ASL industry.
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Re: Sign language?
Old 10-19-2004, 01:26 PM   #19
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Re: Sign language?

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Anyone have any practical experience with teaching their newborns to sign for the basics?
We tried it with some success. She was signing "more" and "all done" at around 8 months, but then she started talking at a pretty early age, so we were able to communicate without signs. Kids younger than 7-8 months just don't have the motor control to sign, so it's not like a 4-month old will be able to suggest that it's time for a diaper change (other than with the traditional odor and moisture signals).
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Re: Baby stuff
Old 10-19-2004, 01:44 PM   #20
 
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Re: Baby stuff

Nord,

My wife and I used baby signs with all of our children (ages 6, 2, 1) and it worked out great for us. We read the book Baby Signs and it got us started. I think it was a great communication tool with the kids. Being able to respond to what they were thinking was great and people really got a kick out of a 15 month signing thank you when they gave her something.

I will say it got harder with more kids since your time gets squeezed. Our 6 year old had about 30 signs that she used starting at about 9 months. She talked early and had an extensive and some would say advanced vocabulary for a 2/3 year old.

Our next who is 2 and 9 months also signed but didn't have quite the stable of words. About 17. He too talked early.

As for #3, he's 15 months and only has about 5 signs so far. It's just hard with 3 running around.

Have fun with it. It's is pretty amazing stuff to communicate with them at that very young age.

B

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